By Kenneth Jukpor
Frieght forwarders under the aegis of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) are pushing for the passage of a bill to indigenize freight forwarding practice in Nigeria under the 9th National Assembly, especially Customs brokerage.
The Acting President of ANLCA, Dr. Kayode Farinto revealed this at the association’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting which held at the National Secretariat in Lagos, on Thursday.
Farinto decried the influx of foreign players as freight agents in the nation amid the high rate of unemployment and consequent national security threats plaguing the country.
According to him, a veteran maritime lawyer, Dr. Emeka Akabogu has already been contacted to prepare a bill to guarantee exclusivity for Nigerians in freight forwarding business.
He, however, stressed that the association would set up a committee to generate the fiscal and other resources required to get the bill passed in due time.
“Younger agents wouldn’t forgive us if at this level we can’t reconcile our differences and address key areas like the fact that foreigners are taking over our jobs. We are talking about the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which should usher in borderless trade but Nigeria doesn’t seem to be ready for this.”
“ANLCA is going to set up a committee which is going to address the problem of foreigners dominating Nigerian jobs. We have already contacted a veteran maritime lawyer, Dr. Emeka Akabogu to draft a bill. However, the goal is to set up the committee to galvanize resources to push the bill,” he said.
He expressed optimism that before the end of the 9th National Assembly the law to indigenize customs brokerage will be achieved, stressing that over 30 percent increase in employment in this sector on yearly basis with the bill.
While reiterating willingness to reconcile the fracas at ANLCA, Farinto said that the BOT faction has spent over N80million in the ongoing association crisis.
“I am extending the hand of fellowship to them. We have opened up a channel and we are ready to negotiate. We are ready to listen to anybody that feels aggrieved, and we would give and take.”
“However, the sanctity of our constitution is important, we need to seat together and chart a way forward. The fact that some are present in this NEC meeting shows that we want peace,” Farinto posited.